Lightning lose in final seconds to Devils
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Andy Greene is
taking advantage of his increased playing time since Jacques Lemaire
took over as coach of the New Jersey Devils.
Greene went from a seldom-used player last season under Brent Sutter to the anchor of an injury-depleted defense for Lemaire.
Greene made the key play Friday
night, firing the point shot that Jamie Langenbrunner deflected for the
winner with 38.1 seconds left in regulation to give the Devils a 3-2
win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With Johnny Oduya and Paul Martin out
with major injuries, Greene has filled the offensive gap on the Devils’
blueline. The assist gave him 14 points, tops this season among New
“He has got confidence,” Lemaire
said. “He’s on top of his game. He started a little slow but he had
good moments. Then all of a sudden, he started to be our top
And the one who made the key play to pull out the latest victory.
“I had a lane to the net and just
tried to throw it there,” Greene said. “Jamie got a great tip on it.
That’s why you play until the final whistle. You keep going to the very
end and you have to be ready for anything.”
Langenbrunner wasn’t sure he deserved the goal.
“It was a great play by Greenie,” the
Devils captain said. “He did a great job taking the puck from the
boards and getting to the middle and finding a lane through. I just
went to the net. They said it hit me, although I’m not 100 percent
The win was the Devils’ seventh in the last eight games at home, and 10th in a row against the Lightning.
Brian Rolston and Niclas Bergfors had power-play goals for New Jersey while Martin Brodeur made 22 saves.
Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Downie scored for Tampa Bay, which dropped its fourth straight game.
The game seemed headed for overtime
when Tampa Bay pulled even at 2 on a power-play goal by Downie with 3
minutes remaining in regulation. Downie tucked home a perfectly-timed
pass from Steve Stamkos.
Rolston and Bergfors scored power-play goals early in the third period to give the Devils a 2-1 lead.
Rolston evened the score at 1:15,
the tally coming only 3 seconds after Lukas Krajicek was whistled for
slashing. Rob Niedermayer won the faceoff in the Lightning zone,
nudging the puck back to Rolston who fired a shot from above the left
circle that caught the upper right corner of the net.
The Lightning quickly picked up two
more penalties, and their third infraction of the period proved costly
as Bergfors converted at 5:14.
Lightning defenseman David Hale fell
down on a clearing attempt with the puck dribbling to Bergfors who
slammed a shot home from the slot.
“They were stupid penalties,” Tampa
Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. “Sometimes when pressure is on, people do
stupid things. We’ve got to straighten out this penalty killing quick.
“Then in the last seconds, we have
no tenacity to clear the front of our net. Those are ways to lose, and
that’s what happens when you lose three or four in a row.”
Lecavalier got the game’s first goal
on a wraparound at 1:26 of the second period. The Tampa Bay captain
curled behind the New Jersey net, tucking the puck into the cage just
inside Brodeur’s left skate.
For Lecavalier, it was only his sixth goal in 34 games dating back to last season.
There were few chances for either
team in the scoreless first period. Tampa Bay had the edge in shots,
7-5, including two good opportunities late in the period.
Alex Tanguay stripped the puck from
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador, setting up Lecavalier in the slot.
Salvador scrambled back into position just in time to deflect the shot.
NOTES: The Devils will play at home
on consecutive nights. They host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday,
hoping to have LW Jay Pandolfo (dislocated right shoulder) and D Johnny
Oduya (lower body injury) back. …. Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis
played in his 335th consecutive game, the sixth-best streak among
active players. …. A pair of rookies, Tampa Bay’s James Wright and
Devils defenseman Matt Corrente, fought to a draw at 14:02 of the first
period. Corrente wasn’t done, picking up another fighting major for a
brawl with New Jersey’s Zenon Konopka at 2:48 of the second period. …
The third fight of the game came at 12:20 of the second as Ryan Malone
and New Jersey’s Mark Fraser squared off. It all began with Malone
leveling Patrik Elias with a hard hit along the boards. Elias
retaliated with a cross check before Fraser took up the fight.